MISS ELLIE returns today to her favourite venue, Musselburgh, where she must have an outstanding chance in the £7,000 Vertis Handicap Hurdle.

Although unproven over three miles, Miss Ellie (2.20) has twice won at the course over four furlongs less, each time seemingly with a little bit left up her sleeve.

With the benefit of a brace of recent pleasing pipe-openers at Sedgefield and Kelso, which should have well and truly cleared the cobwebs from her lungs, the prospect of a third track success beckons for Sue Bradburne's consistent five-year-old mare.

Howard Johnson's Young Tomo (2.50) has a good record at the course so it would be no surprise if he pops up again in the Have A Happy Christmas Handicap Chase.

At the weights he's actually up against it, having been comfortably put in his place by the top-weight Valigan at Kelso earlier in the season.

But Valigan flopped quite badly at Ayr and I've a feeling Len Lungo's grey is not quite on top of his game, and if there is a chink in his armour I feel sure Young Tomo has the staying power to take full advantage.

In the closing bumper event there are one or two interesting newcomers.

But they will have to be pretty speedy to beat the likely favourite, Beckley (3.20).

Chris Grant's handsome five-year-old patently needed the outing when chasing home Full Irish at Sedgefield, a run which will have done his fitness the world of good.

Supporting a horse pulled up at Hexham just five days ago isn't normally the modus operandi of a discerning punter, but I'm prepared to make an exception in the case of Hereford-bound Wills Perk (2.10).

There was significant money for Norman Mason's horse on the morning of the race at Hexham.

Unfortunately the officials had blundered when assessing the state of the ground, which turned out to be riding heavy, rather than soft as originally forecast.

In the event poor old Wills Perk simply couldn't handle the testing conditions.

He gave up the ghost in the final half-mile, and his jockey sensibly drew stumps rather than subjecting the gelding to undue punishment.

Now back on a much faster surface, it could pay to risk a few quid on Wills Perk in the Tote Novices' Handicap Chase.

The Mason team are also represented in the later St Mowden Handicap Hurdle.

But sadly they don't look to have a prayer against Achilles Wings (3.10), who was an extremely impressive scorer at the track late last month.

The opening Christmas Spirit Nursery at Wolverhampton appears to be competitive enough, although I believe Olivia Rose (1.00) may turn the contest into a procession.

Mark Johnston's filly has taken time to get her act together.

But she found her feet in no uncertain manner at Southwell last week when winning by the proverbial street.

Nite-Owl Fizz, successful at the track last week and at Southwell yesterday, bids for a quick-fire hat-trick in the Christmas Tree Handicap.

The one potentially capable of thwarting him is Kass Alhawa (3.30), who is absolutely thrown in at the weights on the pick of his form.